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Michel Chion (Sorbonne Nouvelle), "From Sound Procession to Sound Traveling: A Musical, Literary, and Cinematic Story"

Friday, December 4, 2015 -
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Humanities Center Board Room

The theme of sound or musical procession (sounds that move relative to a stationary observer) played an important role in theater, opera, and music, but also in literature, from the eighteenth century and especially in the nineteenth century. A related theme that appears in music and sound in cinema during the twentieth century is that of sound traveling (sounds perceived  by a moving observer). Sound traveling in cinema is always problematic because it does not obey the laws of visual traveling, especially because 90% of sounds are evolutionary events or passengers, while 90% of visible things are static and durable. Sound traveling also presents the problem of real location of sounds in space, locations that do not strictly "obey" the displacement of sources. We will study these issues in films of the early sound era and in recent films in "one shot," where sound traveling made a reappearance and created new perceptions that do not reproduce human perception: Birdman (2014) by Inarritu, and Victoria (2015) by Sebastian Schipper and others.
Composer of musique concrete (also called "acousmatic"), Chion has created forty works for fixed sounds on audio support—some large, including a requiem, several "melodrama," suites, and symphonies, as well as directing several short films. Chion has written on musique concrete, romantic and modern music, film, "audio-logo-vision" and "acoulogie," as well as Tati, Chaplin, Tarkovsky, Kubrick, Malick, and Lynch. Chion has taught at Conservatory, IDHEC Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle, the ESEC, the DAVI of Lausanne, Music and Research, and the University of Buenos Aires (where he is Honorary Professor).    

General Public
Event Sponsor: 
Material Imagination, Humanities Center, Department of Art & Art History, Department of English
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